These are my first winter tires....and I wore them throughout the whole year, from 2009-2013. I was initially impressed with the snow.
I DON'T KNOW WHY RALLY GUYS HAVEN'T PICKED THIS TIRE UP YET.
Great sand traction, I used them for all season. Treadware was OK, and I did have one small blowout due to a nail, but I guess, for the average treadlife, it was a good buy. In my subaru, with these tires just installed, the little car could STEAM right up hills in deep snow. I think it did better than my jeep in the snow. I rotated the snot out of them to get extra life, and found that this helped.
Road noise is OK. I'm guessing, for a winter tire, the road noise was outstanding. Towards the end, it was a little shaky and there was some traction flaking off. I live on mountain roads and zip through turns, and I felt very comfortable in these tires. Off road, and yes, I did take the beast far off road at least once a month, there were no complaints.
A great melding of tire and awd vehicle.
To sum up:
Go off road, rally, or are in lots of snow, often, get these.
Great tire to have all winter long if you rotate out.
On long trips, ride comfort is medium, noise level is there but quite bearable.
If you are looking for tread life, and don't have much snow, don't get these.
Ultimately the second time around I'm trying out Defenders as I found myself wanting comfort and tread life to be priority 1. I'll post more if I find drastic differences.